A man has voiced his opinion after being compelled to take off his customized license plate because it was deemed 'perceived as indecent'.
Peter Starostecki reported that in January, he had received a letter from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) requiring him to take off and replace his vehicle's customized license plate.
According to WGME, Maine state authorities stated that two letters on the license plate could be construed as obscene.
Nonetheless, the owner of the car has contended since then that he had 'no harmful motives' and is 'merely a vegan.'
However, how does being a vegan relate to any of this?
Starostecki's customized license plate spells out: "LUVTOFU."
And even though the vegan expresses a fervent fondness for tofu, it's difficult to overlook the other connotation that can be inferred from the license plate if you separate the letters into three abbreviated words rather than two.
Starostecki maintains that no one has previously informed him that 'it's unsuitable.' The automobile showcases stickers that reflect his vegan way of life and consequently suggest that the license plate is not intentionally conveying the more suggestive meaning.
The vegan tells WGME: "I've never had anybody come up and be aggressive to me, flip me off, tell me it's inappropriate."
"Every time I get a comment about it, it's something positive."
After receiving a letter from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles instructing him to remove the license plate, Starostecki participated in an online hearing to contest the decision.
Nevertheless, his appeal was rapidly dismissed, and the vegan remarked: "From the beginning it felt like they sort of had their minds made up."
Although he perceived the prohibition of his license plate as a potential infringement on his freedom of expression - "It's my small protest to say I stand for going away from using animal products" - Starostecki acknowledges that he agrees with the state that indecent license plates should not be permitted on vehicles.
Emily Cook, the Director of Communications for the Secretary of State, elucidated: "The license plate is owned by the state and there is no right to force the state to have these sort of words and slogans."
As stated by the Associated Press, Maine has revoked 274 license plates thus far this year and has denied every individual's attempt to retain their customized plate.
Cook stated that Starostecki has been presented with a license plate that spells out 'V3GAN.'
Starostecki refused the plate and has switched back to a standard one, but he mentions that he wouldn't dismiss the idea of making a customized one again in the future.